A Pro Painter's Checklist for Running a Successful Business
Nick Slavik is the proprietor of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. Here, he provides 12 reminders for every entrepreneurial contractor
It's tough to be a tradesperson these days. Trust in pros is often so low, that I've made it a point to ask potential clients about their concerns when I go on job estimates.
Here's a list that I created a while ago as a constant reminder to super-serve my the clients that put their trust in me. It's basically a list of everything people have told me that they hate about contractors and tradespeople.
1. Correspond with overwhelming force. Many clients have told me that, in their experience, "contractors don’t answer their phone or return calls."
2. Try to never reschedule appointments. Another common complaint is that "contractors always reschedule last minute."
3. 10 minutes early is right on time. This is based on the generalization that "contractors are always late."
4. Don’t surprise the client or make them doubt your credibility. Clients second guess a pro who shows up in an unmarked rusty van, no uniform, etcetera.
5. Deliver what you promise, based on the complaint that "contractors overpromise and underperform."
6. Always clean up after yourself. Many of my clients have said that contractors often leave more of a mess than when they started.
7. Be an expert. Do research and stay on top of your area of expertise. What are the best products to use? What's new on the market? Be the guy who knows it all and you could become a valuable longterm resource for you clients.
8. Love your trade. This is based on the misconception that most contractors "aren’t contractors by choice."
9. Do not "change order yourself into profitability." Many of my clients had been previously burned by contractors who underbid to get the job then lean on the client for upsells after the project has started.
10. Be business-savvy. Learn how to create clear and detailed invoices/ financial statements, calculate taxes, navigate employment law, etcetera.
11. Get face time before the job. I've learned that many contractors pass on offering a free estimate. Generally, if someone is willing to invite me into their home to assess a job and, ultimately, give me money to do that job, I like to take them up on it. Face time is especially important when you're just starting out.
12. Be an active member of your community. Give back to those who trust you with their homes. Volunteer, be charitable and be a friendly neighbor. This goes a long way to building trust.
Nick Slavik is the owner and proprietor of in New Prague, MN. He's the newest member of the TOH family, providing pro painting content for sponsors like Behr Paint.